What’s nicer on an autumnal day than a cup of tea? Perhaps the scent of tea that you can wear and take with you all day? Chai by Baruti gives you the opportunity to take the coziness and warmth of this soothing beverage and surround yourself with it’s delicious aroma.
Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamon, pepper, black tea, steamed milk, cocoa, roses, vanilla, musk, leather.
Baruti are a relatively new perfume house, started in 2015, and based in The Netherlands. They describe themselves as both niche and independent. At present, Baruti list eight fragrances on their website including Chai, and their range spans from the bright to the snuggly, housed in cute, squarish, 30ml bottles.
All the Baruti fragrances are composed by Spyros Drosopoulos at his lab in Amsterdam. Spyros is a former neuroscientist who became fascinated by the creation of scent and the creative possibilities contained therein. He left his former life as a researcher and leapt into the world of perfumery, releasing his personal creations under the Baruti line.
Full disclosure: here at The Sniff, we really are fans of tea being used in scents, from the bright citrusy tones of green tea, to the smoky, cozy comfort of black tea, we love this wonderfully emotive ingredient. In broad terms there is something about the way that the scent of tea in perfumery is familiar yet different which we really respond to, and the dried woodiness of it that is both tonal and interesting.
If there are just two things you should take away from this review it’s that firstly, this is a scent with incredible longevity (more on that later) and secondly, it’s a bit of a shape-shifter fragrance.
Our process when reviewing scents is to wear them at least three times, more if time permits, and spray them on blotters as well as on skin. The first time we smelled Chai it arrived in a package of samples and it immediately started calling to us, so much so that our Editor sniffed her way through the whole package until she found out where the intriguingly delicious smell was coming from. That time it smelled like a warm but bright woody scent, light but with a strength at the same time.
Excited, we tested it on skin. The first wear gave off huge clouds of spicy tea in the top notes; dry yet cozy, woody yet inviting. It was less bright and with fewer greenish undertones than it had been straight out of the bottle but still very pleasing and very tea flavoured. Interestingly, the second time we tried it, the tea element appeared lower in the mix than it was initially. And each time we try it is seems a little different to the time before. Chai is a really interesting shifting scent that isn’t all that easy to pin down. The forest stays the same, but the trees contained within seem to rearrange themselves.
So consider Chai all these things in the top; woody, tea-flavoured, familiar, spicy, but in addition there is a nuance here which reminds us of horse breath. We mean this in the nicest, most affectionate way, but there’s a tone which is sweet, cosy, and hay-like, much like the warm breath of a horse as it blows on your face. It’s really beguiling (because we like horses) and once we smelled it we couldn’t stop noticing it. Coupled with the hints of leather that the perfume displays throughout, it evokes the feeling of calm that a beautiful, gentle horse emanates and for a moment you can imagine that you’re in the stable resting your head on the shoulder of a horse, can smell the hay in the feed net, the scent of his coat, the leather of the headcollar he’s wearing, and the cup of strong, sweet black tea that you set aside for when you finish your work. It’s restful, calming and soothing.
In the heart of the scent, Chai becomes spicier, with the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and particularly cardamon all being discernible as a warm, fuzzy, dry spiciness. Think more the ingredients for mulling wine though than astringent dry herbal tones.
The vanilla also emerges, and it adds a real touch of sweetness to the mix, softening the spices, rounding them off so that the vibe is cosy and comforting rather than aggressive or sharp as spices can sometimes be. Occasionally, we felt that the vanilla got slightly out of whack and became a little heavy, but not every wear, just now and again, and it calms down as the scent moves towards the base.
The steamed milk accord is a touch of genius in Chai, it further smooths everything out, so the scent feels luscious, silky and very cosy. It’s very well blended, to the point of not being immediately noticeable, unless you go really sniffing for it, but it enhances the scent overall and really elevates the composition to something tempting yet oddly familiar.
Chai is one of those scents that does something really interesting with how it projects from the body. Catch the scent in its sillage (ie the cloud of scent that surrounds your body when you wear it) and it is milky, sweet, vanilla and cocoa. Sniff it close to the skin and it’s much spicier, denser and drier, thicker and slower moving. The two halves of the scent marry beautifully to form something which is a real treat to wear.
There’s a certain papery feel about the base of Chai at times, not musty old books type paper, but fresh, high quality cartridge paper waiting for an artist to come draw all over it. It’s really inviting, and is another of those nuances which makes you think cosy, safe, warm – like the horse breath earlier on and the steamed milk accord.
The sweetness lingers too, as do the notes which suggest hay smells to us. Deep in the scent there is even the gentlest touches of a fennel or fennel-seed note which adds a bit of edge to the spices and gives them a hint of exoticism.
We found Chai to be thoroughly interesting and wonderfully soothing to wear. Sometimes perfumers reference things of such greatness that it’s very hard to do justice to them, but here the clever perfumer has referenced the humble cup of tea so lovingly that he has managed to convey that tea-hug convincingly into a scent.
The other stuff
The base notes in Chai hang around for an absolute age. If you’re one of those people who values longevity in a fragrance then you will be delighted by the performance of this scent. Some days we tested it it was still discernible, albeit faintly, a full 24 hours after application, which is amazing.
The projection of the scent is also consistently very good, easily beyond handshake distance.
In terms of the gender of this fragrance, we felt that perhaps the vanilla levels pushed it towards the more stereotypically feminine end of the spectrum, but really, tea-fragrances are very easy to wear whichever gender you identify with.
Now is the perfect time to wear this fragrance. As the air cools and the nights draw in, we can think of few things finer than enveloping yourself in a swaithe of this glorious scent and hunkering down until the drizzle stops.
Chai is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £98 for 30ml of extrait.
You can also buy Chai from Baruti’s web boutique where it is priced at €112 for the same sized bottle.
We were very kindly gifted a sample of this scent by a friend and follower of The Sniff, with no strings attached.